Malfunctioning escalator at Lenox Square MARTA station remains down

There was no repair work being done Friday on a  malfunctioning escalator at MARTA's Lenox  station that was shut down the previous night after accelerating and forcing people to jump rather than step off at the bottom.

MARTA officials still haven't determined what caused the problem just as hundreds of people arrived at the station to head home from the lighting of the Great Tree at Lenox Square Mall. MARTA spokesman Lyle Harris said Thursday night  no one was hurt.

That escalator, which carries riders down to a train platform, remained cordoned off Friday.

The Thanksgiving night incident was a reminder of the problems with escalators at MARTA train stations for several years.

Most recently, in January, MARTA shut down 100 of its 149 escalators over concerns about their safety.

The agency took the  escalators  out of service after learning  a mechanic working for MARTA's maintenance contractor had bypassed a safety circuit on an escalator at the Dunwoody station. MARTA determined that the same mechanic had worked on or inspected scores of the machines.

While most have been put back in service in recent months, a few still are not operating, including escalators at the busy Five Points station and Lindberg station, where trains for Dunwoody and Doraville meet going south and to the Airport.

The problems started as much as eight years ago when an escalator at the Civic Center station went into a free fall in 2002.

In July of 2003, there was a problem with a  down escalator at the Peachtree Center station, which drops 75 vertical feet. Witnesses reported the escalator sped up, slowed and then careened forward as screaming riders struggled to stay afoot. Five years later a Fulton County jury awarded $525,000 to a Florida woman, who said  she broke her neck when she got off the speeding escalator and slammed into a wall at the bottom.

On New Year’s Eve in 2007, the escalators at the Five Points MARTA station went into a free fall, injuring 11 people. MARTA said the braking system and a weak motor allowed the escalators to speed out of control.

Records showed that one of those three escalators was reported as going into a “free fall” six weeks earlier, on Nov. 17, 2007.


If you were on the on the escalator during this incident, please text us at 404-890-0AJC.